NHL’s Golden Knights Intend to Keep Their Name

LAS VEGAS (CN) — A problem with its federal trademark registration likely won’t force the NHL’s newest franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights, to change its name.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Dec. 7 declined the Vegas Golden Knights trademark registration application, as the College of St. Rose in Albany, N.Y., uses the same name for its nine sports teams. The college does not have a hockey team.

The National Hockey League this year approved Las Vegas as home of its 31st franchise, to begin play next year. Team owner Bill Foley sought federal trademark registration and protection.

Despite the apparent setback, neither the NHL nor the hockey team indicated it will be a lasting issue. The NHL issued a statement saying it has no intention of asking the franchise to change its name.

“We consider this a routine matter and it is not our intention to reconsider the name or logo of this franchise,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said Thursday.

“We fully intend to proceed as originally planned, relying on our common law trademark rights as well as our state trademark registrations while we work through the process of addressing the question raised in the federal applications,” Daly said in a statement.

The team told Sports Illustrated on Dec. 7 that several professional sports franchises have namesake college teams.

“There are countless examples of college sports teams and professional sports teams with coexisting names, including Vegas Golden Knights and Clarkson Golden Knights, UCLA Bruins and Boston Bruins, U of Miami Hurricanes and Carolina Hurricanes, etc. We will plan on making these arguments and others in our detailed written response to the office action, which must be filed by June 7, 2017,” the team said.

The Patent and Trademark Office cited likelihood of confusion with a registered mark and prior pending applications in denying the Las Vegas Golden Knights’ application and said a disclaimer is required.

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